tv Newsmakers CSPAN December 30, 2012 10:00am-10:30am EST
>> is joining us from indiana on "newsmakers," luke messer. why did you seek out the presidency of the freshman class for republicans? >> it was an exciting opportunity. i have been involved here with governor daniels and indian oppose the leadership team. we of donna a lot of things -- indiana's leadership team. we have done a lot of things. we can bring that leadership to washington. >> you'll have had some experience working in the house.
you have gotten to see up close the with the house functions. what you see as the principal differences a from then and the way the house is run now as you prepare to take the oath and throw -- oath? >> it was 12 years ago, when washington was quite a different place. back in those days, people had the opportunity to dialogue across the aisle. coming here from state government, where governor daniels has always had the principle that we will be a party of purpose, we will get things done and try to create environments will we have the opportunities for job growth, i share the frustration of almost every other american, which is the fact that washington is broken. it appears not much is getting done. hopefully we can bring common sense from indiana.
our freshman class is a class of folks who of coming to washington to get things done. >> mr. messer, what is your job as a freshman president for republican? thatur principal's job is you tried to run the class meetings. at our first meeting, i established a rule where everyone could talk, but nobody could talk more than a two minutes. our first meeting took 18 minutes. we have an opportunity to reach across the aisle. i did not know if the democrats have announced their president yet. i want to work across the aisle and try to have some joint meetings and get together. it is much harder to demonize people that you know. i want to work with my classmates to make sure we all have an opportunity that our
voice is heard. their 150 members of congress. that is more than one-third of the body. traditionally, folks have come to washington and waited there time and tried to do something 10 years later. we've got a group of people in the class is combined to want to make sure their voices is a part of the process. >> the current freshman class has given speaker boehner -- how do you see your freshman class in along with the speaker -- getting along with the sp eaker? >> i do not know him well. i believe that our freshman class is a diverse group of folks. we of the more than a dozen business owners. -- have got more than a dozen
business owners. we have dozens of folks who have been involved in local and state governments. they're coming to washington to get things done. speaker boehner has a very hard job. when president obama makes a decision for the executive branch of government, it is the agenda for that branch of government. speaker boehner cannot really do anything more than the votes he can obtain for any part of that agenda. i have heard very little of any kind of uprising. i certainly would anticipate voting for him. >> you mentioned a little bit about your time in the state legislature in indiana. one of the things i was interested in was, you saw the way that the house worked in the 1990's. you went back to indiana, ran for state legislature, you were elected.
what were some of the experiences as someone in the 1990's. -- 1990's? what were some of the experiences that informed the way you conducted yourself as state legislature? >> let me talk about the part of congress when i served in washington. i served in macintosh's committee that dealt with small business. we did a hearing with allied signal in southern indiana. and dennis kucinich and tom romer -- tim romer, both came to this committee to try to get something done there. it was not all cotton candy and rainbows. people at least were working
together to try to reach a reasonable conclusion. here in indiana, as a state legislator, i have seen governor daniels be a get-it-done governor. i remember the first meeting with governor daniels came to our caucus. i had been in the general assembly for two years. some of the members were saying, bir going to balance the budget here in two years or four years. governor daniels walk in the room and said we would balance it in one year. that was the most important leadership decision of his tenure. if we keep that principle in mind -- he had some challenges, but as he has said often, people are fair minded. if you make the right decisions for the right reasons and the results come from that, the politics and campaigning will take care of itself.
i think there are a lot of lessons in that for what needs to be done in washington. >> mr. messer, to bring it back to the current fiscal cliff talks -- during the campaign, you said that raising taxes is not a good way to help the u.s. economy. do you have an across the board opposition to raising taxes? >> i do believe that the worst thing to do any weak economy is to try to raise taxes. it is like pouring gasoline on fire. it is important to remember as a look at this debate, if the president gets all of his tax increases he is asking for, it $80 billion to the government. that is enough money to run the government for eight to 16 days. it will raise our deficit to somewhere around $1 trillion.
i think we have to get aggressive about spending. we're going to have to look added title months if we're going to start to solve these problems. -- entitlements if we're going to start to solve these problems. i think the approach he has taken is one that is setting this process up for failure. the proof is the results of negotiations we have seen over the last couple weeks. >> would you have voted for plan b? >> as someone who has been out here in indiana, i do not know all the details of plan b. i know the basic framework. i support the speaker's efforts to try to at least be part of leading. some of the criticism the speaker has received for even proposing such a proposal has been unfair.
>> you mentioned how the freshman class is going to be part of a bigger change, and will have seen more than a third of the body turn over in three years. it seems to me that it used to be that after an election, and we had a fairly slow november, fairly slow december, there is an agglomeration, things get back to normal. -- inauguration, things bacget back to normal. we have not gotten any letup in the last couple of months. in washington, people are a bit more short tempered and the normally are during the holiday season because of what is going on. is there a sense of urgency that your constituents are giving you?
you will not be sworn in until thursday. of the already ringing the office line, offering advice -- are the already ringing the office line, offering advice -- they already ringing the office line, offering advice? >> everybody automatically sees you as the congressman, the next person up. there certainly calling us, talking to us. the environment you describe, where this is a unique holiday season in washington -- five times in modern history have we been into session this late in the year. some of these discussions tend to be a little academic. we think, who is in the power structure, who looks good, who is looking good in this but in the real-- world -- my barber is worried,
should i hunker down, is this as good as it is ever going to be? people are concerned about the unknown here. the ultimate people that matter here are the american people, the small-business owner, the single word about whether a child will love the opportunity to go to college -- mom worried about whether her child will have the opportunity to go tco college. this reminds me of the yankee's technology questions. -- y2k technology question. we can only hope that a settlement happens here over the course of the next few days. if that does not happen, let's
hope you're able to get it turned around early next year. >> are you preparing for possibly being someone who helps "solve the problem"? do you think the 130th congress might be voting on something bigger -- 113th congress might be voting on something bigger? >> i am not sure if a short-term deal will happen. most of those kinds of meetings tend to be theatrics unless there is a deal done. we're looking very much like this is going to be open and live in the first part of next year. -- and alive in the first part of next year. for those of us who are rookies, we will have no choice but to jump into the fray. the debt ceiling is looming. it was announced in the
in the last couple of days. there is no question that we're going to have to have something done early next year. because more than a third of this body has been here for less than three years, that you will see this in your group of folks be a part of this conversation in a very vivid way. there is something very wise in the, that you made then. -- comment that you made. the american people are tired of kicking the can down the road. the american people and its elected leaders are ready to do something big, something the restructure's the tax code in a way that can spur economic growth. something the looks of entitlement and been set cost curve in a way that can solve this problem -- that looks at
entitlement and can set a cost curve in a way that can solve this problem. i am a freshman. i am a rookie. for the speaker, the president, harry reid and over in the senate, the real answer in this is looking big, looking bold, and coming up with something that is a compromise that everyone can be proud of. >>9 mr. messer, we have about 10 minutes left. >> how involved are newly elected lawmakers in what is going on right now? the house republicans have been holding conference calls. are you guys on those calls? do you not get anything until january 3 when you are sworn in? >> it varies. we're not on every one of those
caucus conference calls. we have been briefed on many of the policy proposals. we are being kept abreast. it is not quite yet like be a member of congress. -- being a member of congress. >> obviously, the fiscal cliff discussions are centered around taxes and spending. we have a lot of other unfinished business in this congress. call me perhaps cynical and realistic, but i am sure will be planted into the 113th congress -- punted into the 113th congress. one of them is the farm bill. there is a threat that their prices could as much as double. you come from a part of indiana that is very diverse. what are you hearing in terms of
those sorts of issues that are not necessarily in front of the headlines on newspapers or cnn or c-span about issues like that? >> this is an example of a washington has changed. they used to be certain issues, national security, transportation, agriculture that tended to not be partisan and all. you could come up with a solution that both sides could live with. this is another example of something that has historically not been a political football. there are some reasons for that. the bill used to be about 50-50 agricultural issues and 50% food stamps. now 80% of this bill is food stamps. it is not even aptly named when mcauliffe the farm bill anymore. we call it the farm bill
anymore. i think it is an approach to helping the industry that makes more sense than the old school grants were they paid people not to form. something has to be done. out here in the 19 counties of indiana where we have a manufacturing based economy, there are a lot of people that a concern about whether that gets done. if nothing gets done, it is my understanding that the whole process will restart and there are opportunities are challenges that could come with these programs expiring. >> follow-up on what jason was asking about big issues for the upcoming congress. you have a top rating for the
nra. use support their proposal to put armed guards in schools it erode the will be a big debate over the next year. -- schools? >> it will be a big debate over the next year. there 1100 schools that have that have anheire ability to protect the young people and teachers. it has worked well in indiana. it is not lead to an escalation in violence. it could be a good proposal as part of what is being done. we need to take a comprehensive look at how we handle mental health. the way we treat those who are mentally ill is very different than it was even 20 years ago. some of that is because we have had medical advances that allow folks to tackle challenges of medicine. we need to ask ourselves whether other people on the streets today the would not have been
there just a few short decades ago. and how are we going to do that. history shows that when you have bands, they keep guns away from folks who are law-abiding citizens or not the problem -- bans, they keep guns away from folks who are law-abiding citizens who are not the problem. we need to look at some other, more ancillary issues. we ought to take a look at banning these violent video games. i know california had such proposals. the supreme court overturned it. this is not your grandfather's cowboys and indians. these are games were people act out the violent act of murder.
>> on mental health, who would pay for the added resources to help treat those that are mentally ill? should it be the federal government, the state government? >> i did not have an answer to that question. we need to have a very serious conversation as a society but what we're going to do. in my district, we have a facility down in jennings county that used to house 2000 patients who are mentally ill. over time, that facility went down to 300 or 400 patients because of laws and regulations and treatment patterns were different. there were fewer people in that facility. eventually that facility became a military training center. there a similar facilities all across the country that have essentially been put out of business because of the way we now treat the mentally ill. this is a major issue for our society. i am a limited government
conservative. that does not mean that there are not some things were the government plays a role. >> mr. messer, isn't that bigger government? >> it is, but i know of no one who doesn't believe there is a role in government for protecting those who cannot take care of themselves. we as a society understand that seniors need help with social security and medicare. we believe the young people ought to have schools. i believe that folks were clearly in this category of mentally ill, there is an appropriate role for government in helping protect -- just because we have fiscal limitations does not mean that we do not have to do the job it takes to protect them. the analogy might make is, we have fiscal limitations, but none of this would suggest that we just empty out our presence either. -- prisons either.
it has to be funded. i think we need a comprehensive approach to mental health. we need to come up with the kind of solutions and treatments that make sense, and ready to put together a plan to fund it. >> we have a few minutes >> the head, emily. head, emily.ad >> have you decided to move your family to washington? >> absolutely. it is a real honor to have the opportunity to serve in congress. all of a sudden you're running your own small operation with 18 to 20 employees. you have got to establish your offices and pick your carpet and rug. we had to decide what we're going to do. my wife jennifer and i have three children. for us, i am very serious about
being a good congressman, but i am also serious about being a good dad and a good husband. for us, that means giving our family together. we will have a home in virginia. we found a place will be able to stay in. we will keep a residency back here in indiana. we're small-town folks from the hoosier state and we're going to keep it that way. >> after world war ii, one thing that united lot of members of congress was that they all served in the world. but when across state lines, geographic lines. -- that went across state lines, geographic lines. that has started to wane a little bit. in 1970's 1980's, these veterans retired and started to pass away. we're seeing this uptick again where there are a lot of veterans coming to congress.
how significant is that is that there is more of an attention to veterans, even in a society -- but we do not have a universal o not have anot have universial drafta? ? >> we do have something like 16 current members of congress that are military veterans. what they bring is a major understanding of the way the military operates and what ought to be done there. they also bring a spirit of getting things done in.
the last thing one will do in the military is bigger with each other, take their ball home, and not participate. people die and get hurt in military operations. people have to work together. the have to reach solutions. they have to then go and solve the problem. that is the biggest thing i have observed from our class of freshmen. on the republican side, it is a conservative group. i've not talked to one member who believes the have a mandate to come to washington and raised taxes. -- raise taxes. but they do believe across the aisle that washington is broken, and it is not ok to bicker and fight, go home and put out press releases and blame the problems on someone else. we have to reach across the aisle, figure out what we can do and agree on to move our country forward, and get things done. you will see that in the coming
three to six months i understand the pessimism all across the country. -- months. i understand the pessimism all across the country. somehow, someway, the leaders in our country have repeatedly found ways to move past our differences. there's no reason to believe that we cannot do it now. uke messer,tative lo thank you for being on "newsmakers." let me turn to our reporters for a bit of a rapid conversation. he is the freshman president for public and, coming into the 113th congress. who are they? >> they are a very diverse bunch. there are some people who are new to politics. but a lot of them are long lines of luke messer, who have been
in government at many levels. they're able to see a little bit more context than some of the fire breathing -- for lack of a better term. it will be interesting. it is not that much smaller of the freshman class, and there are fewer republicans, but they seem to be oriented toward public policy and any number of ways. >> is indicating he would support speaker boehner for the 130th congress. are they going to get along in this group -- 113th congress? are they going to get along in this group? >> there were a lot of problems during the debt negotiations. democrats had to step up and
vote for the proposal to give it to pass. that is a fair question for this freshman class. are they going to support speaker boehner, or are they not? >> what do you think they face coming into the 113th congress? >> let's say everything is wrapped up in a nice bow and they can start their term nicely on thursday. they still have to face the budget process. they will have to deal with a temporary spending bill that expires in march. will have to deal with that almost right off the bat. spring is always a busy time because it is budget season. there are any number of big ticket issues. guns, immigration. these are big ticket political, emotional issues that a lot of
members of congress want to address. my advice to any number of the freshman class would be, be ready to work some long hours. there is no shortage of issues that will have to tackle right up front. >> and gay marriage to be another one. the supreme court has agreed to kill a case about the defense of marriage act. -- hear a case about the defense of marriage act. does obama's health care act come to the table? >> i sat down with one of our health-care reporters at seek to roll call -- cq roll call. they were going for some sort of repeal on it. even though people are certainly not happy with it, maybe some of the theatrics we see